Hello again! If you read my previous blog post, you will already know that, during my residency here at Wheal Martyn, I have become interested in the story about the home of the Martyn family, who founded Wheal Martyn. Their home, Carthew House was originally built in 1797 then, using the profits from the China Clay mine, was restored and improved between 1841 and 1849. Later, in 1972, the expanding pit would also be the demise of the house, when China Clay was discovered below it.

Over the last month, I have been busy working on a map made of hand-made paper, illustrating the relationship between the old and new China Clay pits and some of the buildings that no longer exist, such as Carthew House.

Here I am making the map on site, in the Conference Room, using China Clay from Wheal Martyn pit in the paper itself. It was the most challenging piece of hand-made paper I have ever made because it comprises 16 panels, all held together with threads that run within the paper during the making process. No adhesives or stitch was used, just the threads held by the paper.

The pulp for making the paper was made from 100% cotton rag and took 3 days to process, at home, before I could use it. Setting up my equipment and making the map in the Conference Room took a further 2 weeks. In this time, I actually made two maps. The first, test piece, allowed me to find out any problems that I would encounter (and there were a few to overcome!) before making the final version. The lines to illustrate the pits and buildings were all drawn with coloured paper pulp so that they become part of the paper, when it’s dry.

Having made the map, I now want to add further details and I need to construct the frame too, before it is ready for display. In the meantime, I am also working on another piece of work, but I’ll tell you about that next time.

Carol Weir – artist in residence.